By Komal Patel
Congress has passed a bill that would fund incentives to purchase electric vehicles. But a false claim is circulating on social media that purports to show an “electric car cemetery” in France. The photo actually shows a car-sharing company’s storage lot in China. The cars were to be replaced by updated electric vehicles.
Congress on Aug. 12 passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which devotes hundreds of billions of dollars to promote clean energy sources and transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels.
The bill extends the existing tax credit of up to $7,500 for eligible individuals who buy qualifying electric vehicles through 2032 and offers a tax credit of up to $4,000 for purchases of certain used electric vehicles.
The bill’s support for electric vehicles has sparked misleading claims that the vehicles are unreliable and impractical. A Facebook post from Aug. 7 posts a screenshot of a tweet showing a sea of parked cars in an overgrown field with the caption, “This is France. They bought electric cars for civil servants. But it was too expensive to replace the batteries. And THIS is the Green New Plan to save our country.”
The Facebook user captioned the screenshot of the tweet, “How’s that working for ya..”
But the photo was taken in China, not France, and the cars were not discarded because of the batteries.
A reverse image search by the French news outlet AFP Fact Check in July 2021 found similar photos appeared in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily in 2019. The Chinese paper identifies the photo as a “car-sharing cemetery” in Hangzhou.
The cars were owned by Microcity, a Hangzhou-based electric car-sharing company, AFP reported. A former manager of the company said that the cars were set to be replaced with newer electric vehicles.
The former manager, Lou Gaofeng, told AFP most of the cars “were the first generation electric vehicles which had been produced in 2013 and even earlier and should be replaced due to technological progress.”
In a May 23, 2016 article, China Daily wrote about a boom in the car-sharing market, saying government restrictions on issuing new vehicle plate registrations “are helping to boost the expansion of [the] market.” The paper said Microcity was “popular in Hangzhou” and expanding to the city of Shanghai and Yunnan province.
But, three years later, South China Morning Post wrote that car-sharing companies were struggling. The paper included a photo similar to the one shown in the Facebook post that showed thousands of electric vehicles that were “seen discarded in Hangzhou.”
The photo used in the Facebook post appeared in an Instagram post in a June 19, 2021, by a photographer who calls himself Greg Abandoned. His name can be seen watermarked on the roof of a car in the lower right corner of the photo. The photographer says on the post, “I don’t share locations.” But his recent book, “Abandoned China: Book One,” provides images from his three years exploring scenes in China.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.
Bossons, Matthew. “This Man Documents China’s Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Places.” RADII. 30 Apr 2022.
Gore, D’Angelo. “How Does the Inflation Reduction Act Address Climate Change?” Factcheck.org. 4 Aug 2022.
Gore, D’Angelo. “Tax Credit for Plug-in Electric Vehicles Still Available for Certain Models” Factcheck.org. 9 Aug 2021.
@GregAbandoned. Instagram Post. 19 Jun 2021.
H.R.5376 Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Congress.gov. Accessed 11 Aug 2022.
Huuhtanen, Elias. “This photo does not show an ‘electric car cemetery’ in France.” AFP Factcheck. 12 Jul 2021.
Keithley, LC. “How’s that working for ya..” Facebook. 7 Aug 2022.
O’Brien, Sarah. “Buying a car and want to go electric? Inflation Reduction Act extends $7,500 tax credit — but with price, income caps.” CNBC. 10 Aug 2022.
O’Rourke, Ciara. “No, this photo doesn’t show abandoned French electric cars.” PolitiFact. 10 Aug 2022.